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Phileas Fogg and Passepartout approach the Swiss Alps

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Tour Companies and Operators
Tour companies, also called tour operators, take the hassle out of travel especially if going to exotic places or if you don't have much time to spend somewhere.  They range from budget to deluxe tours and from city tours to worldwide cruises.  All offer escorted tours and some also offer independent tours.
   

Affordable Tours  This website is the best place to look for a tour company.  They list almost all the major tour companies operating in the United States that cover both U.S. and worldwide destinations. They allow easy comparison shopping including discount prices and other details for the location you want to visit.

Using a Search Engine  Just type in the name of the city or place followed by tours, tour operators or tour companies.  Add any specialty descriptive words:  Examples:  Adventure tour Guatemala     Sightseeing city tour Paris

A list of Tour Companies can be found at the bottom of this page.

 

General Resources

How To Pick a Tour Operator.  A good article on how to pick a tour operator.

Finding A "Reliable" Tour Operator  This is an article from Smarter Travel by well-known travel author Ed Perkins that discusses how to protect yourself from disappointment whether you sign with a small or large tour operator. 

VIPBackpacker.com  They offer a comprehensive selection of tours worldwide for backpackers and independent travelers.

GORP Travel   This is a popular website for adventure travel, and they also offer a selection of tours for non-adventure activities like culinary travel vacations. (We know - food can be an adventure experience too!)

iExplore  They are an online travel agency in association with National Geographic that specializes in finding you a tour. A beautiful website where you select a region of the world or country and activities and then they list tours that match your selection. The results include details such as cost, number of days, dates, etc.

InfoHub Specialty Travel Guide  They have a comprehensive list of tours worldwide by various tour companies that you can search using various criteria such as country, type activity, etc. (Not all the major tour companies are represented in their search results.)

Tours.com  They also have a comprehensive list of tours worldwide by various tour companies that you can search using various criteria such as country, type activity, etc. (Not all the major tour companies are represented in their search results.)

Specialty Travel Index  A major player in the adventure tours and specialty travel market.  You can search by activities, categories and countries.

Student Flights  Based in the U.K., they have student and budget travel information including extensive package tours throughout the world.

Tour Operator Associations


European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) This is the Trade Association for European Tourism. You can use it to see what is happening in the tourism industry in Europe. You can also go to their Membership Directory and either enter a tour operator name or select from a member category (e.g., Tour operators, Ferry operators, etc). If you select a category you will get an alphabetical list of all their member companies in that category and link to them along with the country in which their headquarters is based.

National Tour Association (NTA)  This is the NTA website. You can get a list of tour companies that are members of the association and other tour information.

United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA)  This is the USTOA website. You can get a list of tour companies that are members of the association and other tour information.
  

Tour Companies

The difference in categories is primarily one of accommodations and their associated amenities and, sometimes, the transportation modes used. All have escorted tours and some also offer independent travel. Deluxe and Ultra-Deluxe are definitely luxury travel.
 
Company in alphabetical order

Category

Areas Covered

DMOZ Open Directory Directory Comprehensive list of Tour Operators worldwide, organized by continent and countries. Or use their search box and enter a country or city name followed by tour operators or specialty travel (e.g., France bicycling tours) You can also search by some specialty travel categories shown.  Note: The Google Directory uses the Open Directory data base.
Yahoo! Tour Operators Directory Directory Comprehensive list of Tour Operators worldwide, organized at the top level by both by destination and a comprehensive list of categories (e.g., by activities such as kayaking, music, bus tours, etc). Or use their search box and enter a country or city name followed by tour operators or specialty travel. You can also search by some specialty travel categories shown (e.g., France bicycling tours).
Tours.com Directory Comprehensive list of Tour Operators worldwide.  Their tour database can be searched by destination, activity, key words or tour operator. They strive to give you unbiased, comprehensive & timely information on leisure travel.
Specific Tour Companies    
Abercrombie & Kent Ultra-Deluxe Worldwide
Brendan Vacations First-Class Worldwide except for Asia.
Caravan Tours First-Class North America, Central America, and Mexico
CIE Tours Deluxe North America, Ireland and Great Britain
Classic Vacations Deluxe Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica, Europe and Tahiti.
Collette Vacations First-Class Worldwide  Click here for their Travel Deal of the Week.
Co-Op Travel
Departures from U.K.
All Classes Tour packages originating in the U.K. to Europe, Middle-East and North American destinations.
Cosmos
combined website with Globus
Budget Worldwide
Delta Dream Vacations 
Delta Airlines
First-Class North America, Caribbean and Europe
Europe-based  Tours   See Co-Op Travel above.
Freegate Tours Budget Latin America, Europe, Mediterranean, South Africa
Globus
combined website with Cosmos
Deluxe Worldwide
Go Ahead Tours First-Class Worldwide   Click here for last minute deals
Grand Circle Travel First-Class Worldwide   Click here for special deals on their home page.
Insight Vacations First-Class USA, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean 
Maupintour Deluxe Worldwide
Mayflower Tours First-Class Worldwide
Nordic Saga First-Class Scandinavia
Petrabax 
well-known regional
tour company
First-Class Spain, Portugal and Morocco
Perillo Tours 
well-known for their Italy tours
First-Class Italy, Hawaii and Israel
Railamerica Tours 
worldwide tours
First-Class Worldwide.  Not limited to rail tours.
RealAdventures  
worldwide vacations and adventure tours
First-Class Worldwide
Saga Holidays  
specializes in over 50 age group
First-Class Worldwide
Sun Holidays First-Class USA, Europe, Mediterranean
Tauck Tours Deluxe Worldwide
Tourlite International First-Class Latin America, Greece
Trafalgar Tours First-Class North America, Europe, South Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand.
Travcoa Ultra-Deluxe Worldwide
Travelbound First-Class Worldwide
Tropical Island Vacations Deluxe Worldwide
Uniworld First-Class Worldwide
United Vacations  
United Airlines
Deluxe Worldwide except Africa
Vantage Deluxe World Travel Deluxe Worldwide
 
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